Monday, November 15, 2010


By Kate Banks
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
ISBN: 0-374-39949-2

FROM THE FLAP: Benjamin collects stamps. Karl collects coins. When their younger brother Max decides to collect words, one word leads to another until Max has a story worth telling. Now all he needs is pictures.

Enter Boris Kulikov in a brilliant collaboration with Kate Banks that attests to the wonder of words.

KATE'S TAKE: A fantastical tribute to imagination, collections, and a can-do attitude.

COIN COLLECTIONS: Logical/Mathematical and Visual/Spatial
Max’s brother collects coins. Give each student a dollar’s worth of cut-out paper coins. Label each coin with a Q for quarter, D for dime, N for nickel, and P for penny. Then ask them to draw a picture of their favorite pet and label it with a price under a dollar. Hang the pets up at the front of the classroom and ask students to come shopping at the pet store. In order to take their pet home with them, the students must give the proper amount of change to the cashier to pay for the pet. Many thanks to Andy Hacket for this activity. Check out his blog here

COLLAGE TALES: Verbal/Linguistic and Visual/Spatial
Word process words in different colors and cut out for kids. Ask students to choose ten cut-out words and create a sentence. Then, have them glue their sentence to the long side of a piece of 11x18 piece of construction paper. Last, ask them to illustrate their story.

COLLECTION BOOKS: Verbal/Linguistic, Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Visual/Spatial
Give students an 8x11 sheet of paper that has space for writing a sentence at the bottom of the sheet. Ask them to finish the following sentence: If I could collect anything in the world, I would collect_____________________ because____________________________________________.
Have them illustrate their sentence and bind the papers in a book to send home with students.

CROCODILE AND ALLIGATOR SEE-SAW BOOKS: Verbal/Linguistic, Naturalist, and Visual/Spatial
Collate an eight-page book for each students, and ask them to fill in the blanks.
Page 1: Crocodiles and alligators hatch from __________________(eggs) but,
Page 2: crocodiles have a _______________(v-shaped) snout, and
Page 3: alligators have a _________________ (u-shaped) snout.
Page 4: A crocodile’s fourth tooth_____________( sticks out) when its mouth is closed, but
Page 5: an alligator’s fourth tooth is ___________ (hidden) when its mouth is closed.
Page 6: Most crocodiles live in ________________ (salt) water, but
Page 7: most alligators live in __________________ (fresh) water.
Page 8: Crocodiles and alligators are _________________(reptiles).
After they have filled in the blanks, ask students to illustrate the books.

FAMILY LETTERS: Verbal/Linguistic and Interpersonal
Ask students to write a letter to a family member or a friend who lives far away. Ask parents to send in an addressed envelope and give students a stamp to affix to their letter. Relatives are always thrilled to receive the kids’ letters.

-Alligator Tails and Crocodile Cakes by Nicola Moon
-Max’s Dragon by Kate Banks
-Snap! A Book About Alligators and Crocodiles by Melvin Berger
-The Coin Counting Book by Rozanne Williams
-Word Wizard by Cathryn Falwell


  1. Thsi book is definitely worth checking out. And I love the activities you've created to go with it. They're simple, practical, and fun.